Human Rights Council Elections 2014

9 October 2014

On October 21, the General Assembly will elect 15 members of the Human Rights Council. The newly elected members will serve on the Council for the 2015-2017 term, replacing Austria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kuwait, Peru, the Philippines, and Romania.

Several member states have announced their interest in a seat on the Human Rights Council. Ghana, Congo, Portugal, Netherlands, Albania, Latvia, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Bolivia, Indonesia, Qatar, and Bangladesh have submitted voluntary pledges to the President of the General Assembly, which describe their records on human rights issues and propose ways in which they aim to improve their performance.  GA resolution 60/251 , the founding resolution of the HRC, encourages member states to take these pledges into consideration when casting their votes.  

     In addition to these pledges, seven member states participated in a discussion of Human Rights Council candidates' aspirations and vision for membership on 15 July 2014. These candidates were Albania, Bolivia, Botswana, Costa Rica, Latvia, the Netherlands, and Portugal. The event was co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Tunisia and Uruguay, Amnesty International, and the International Service for Human Rights and can be viewed hereMedia sources  have reported that Thailand will also run for a seat. 

Member states cannot serve more than two consecutive terms on the HRC, which disqualifies only Chile and Burkina Faso from running for re-election this year.  Thus, most of the current members have the option to pursue another term on the Council.  However, it is still unclear how many of the outgoing members are interested in a second term. In addition to Congo, Costa Rica, and Indonesia, which have announced their intention to run for a second term, it has been reported that India will also seek re-election on the 21st. 

At the time of writing it appears that the WEOG and EEG will run “clean slates” for the election. Unless the current WEOG and EEG members choose to run for a second term or additional member states declare their candidacy, the number of candidates will be equal to the number of available seats. 

Although there are only three confirmed candidates in the Africa group (Botswana, Ghana and Congo), it may be that current African member Benin intends to run for another term.  In that instance, Ghana would likely replace Burkina Faso on the HRC for 2015 while Benin, Botswana, and Congo remain for another term. 

Other regions, however, seem headed for more competitive elections. In GRULAC, there are four known candidates running for three available seats.  In the Asia-Pacific group, five candidates are interested in four seats.  

To view the voluntary pledges offered by the candidates, see the attachments below.   

Qatar for HRC.pdf235.5 KB
Indonesia for HRC.pdf147.07 KB
Congo for HRC.pdf142.39 KB
Bangladesh for HRC.pdf175.64 KB
Albania for HRC.pdf186.48 KB
Costa Rica for HRC.pdf279.35 KB
Netherlands for HRC.pdf43.71 KB
Paraguay for HRC.pdf41.76 KB
Ghana for HRC.pdf143.05 KB
El Salvador for HRC.pdf124.21 KB
PortugalForHRC.pdf132.78 KB
Latvia HRC.pdf195.32 KB
Bolivia for HRC.pdf228.7 KB